Baseball Legend Frank Robinson Dies At 83

Heather Diaz
February 8, 2019

In his first season in Baltimore, Robinson showed he still had plenty left in his 30-year-old body as he was named the AL MVP following a 1966 campaign in which he won baseball's Triple Crown. "He was one of the greatest players in the history of our game, but that was just the beginning of a multifaceted baseball career", Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday in a statement.

Following the end of his managerial career, Robinson moved to the Major League Baseball offices and served in several different roles from 2007-2015, ending as the Executive Vice President of Baseball Development.

Robinson fulfilled his quest to become the first African-American manager in the big leagues when the Cleveland Indians hired him in 1975. The Indians compiled a 186-189 record under Robinson, who finished with a.294 careers average including 586 home runs and 2,943 hits.

Robinson, who led the AL with a.316 average, 47 home runs and 122 runs batted in, was the first Triple Crown victor since 1947.

Known for his elite talent and intense demeanor, Robinson became a central figure in advancing Major League Baseball's integration of black players after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in 1947.

On Dec. 9, 1965, the Cincinnati Reds traded Robinson to the Orioles for pitchers Milt Pappas, Jack Baldschun and outfielder Dick Simpson.

In the six years Robinson spent as an Oriole, the team went to the World Series four times, winning twice in 1966 and 1970. Robinson remained with the Indians until 1977, then managed the San Francisco Giants and Orioles.

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Frank Robinson, right, with Pete Rose before a spring training game in 1966. He became the first manager of the Washington Nationals after the franchise moved from Montreal for the 2005 season - the Nationals put him in their Ring of Honor, too.

Robinson later spent several years working as an executive for Major League Baseball and for a time oversaw the annual Civil Rights Game. He won National League Rookie of the Year in 1956, hitting.290 with 38 home runs at age 20 for the Reds. In 2005, Frank was a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian award, for 'setting a lasting example of character in athletics'. His 1961 Reds team lost the Series to the Yankees in five games while his 1969 Orioles lost that World Series to the Miracle Mets.

Robinson was the only player to hit a ball completely out of old Memorial Stadium in Baltimore and once connected for grand slams in consecutive innings of a game.

But it was as a slugger that Robinson may be best remembered.

"The baselines belong to the runner, and whenever I was running the bases, I always slid hard", Robinson declared.

Robinson was named the AL Manager of the Year with the Orioles in 1989 - the same year he took part in history by coaching against the Blue Jays' Cito Gaston in the first games featuring two black managers.

Robinson is survived by his wife, Barbara Ann, and two children, Frank Kevin and Nichelle.

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